Boys hockey: Alexandria's hot streak continues with win over Sauk Rapids-Rice
The Cardinals have won four games in a row and have outscored their last four opponents 24-3.
ALEXANDRIA - The Alexandria boys hockey team came into its game on Thursday with momentum after shutting out Fergus Falls and Willmar in its last two outings.
While Sauk Rapids-Rice had the early 1-0 lead, Alexandria took control of the game early and earned an 8-1 win on senior night.
"I told coach Adam [Olsen] that we've been told since playing in squirts that time flies, and it was really nice to get a win on senior night," Senior Tyler Kludt said. "We're such a tight-knit group."
"It feels nice to know that our teammates got our backs and they're here for us all the time," senior Nick Peterson said.
Sauk Rapids-Rice (4-12, 3-5 Central Lakes Conference) struck first with a power play goal by Jett Wheeler with 12:30 left in the first frame.
Alexandria responded swiftly, with three goals to end the period.
"We kept things positive on the bench, and that was a big part of it," Kludt said. "We didn't get down on ourselves after trailing 1-0. We kept getting to our game. We got the puck down low and found success in front of the net."
First, a shot by junior Gavin Olson found the back of the net with 10 minutes remaining in the first frame, which was followed by goals from senior Tyler Kludt with 6:14 left in the frame and one by senior Nicholas Peterson with 3:14 left in the first.
Kludt scored his second goal of the night four minutes into the second frame to give Alexandria a 4-1 lead.
A pair of goals by Leo Kompelien later in the period extended Alexandria's lead to 6-1.
Senior Keegan Lucy added to Alexandria's lead with a goal in the last minute of the second frame, which gave Alexandria a 7-1 lead heading into the third period.
"We just kept going," Peterson said. "We didn't let our energy down, and we kept cheering each other on."
Olson's second goal of the night came in the middle of the third frame and was the last goal of the night.
The Cardinals' eight goals on Thursday matched its season-high, which it set in its 8-0 win over Willmar on Tuesday.
"We're just doing a really good job with getting pucks low and really working on our forecheck in pressure on that on defenses," Kludt said.
Alexandria had a 37-15 shot on goal advantage in Thursday's win.
Senior EJ Rasmusen had another strong outing for Alexandria as he recorded the win in net and made 15 saves.
"Our goaltenders have been playing their best games, and we've needed them," Peterson said. "
Senior Joe Lamski, Lucy, and Olson had two assists in the game, while Peterson, juniors Jack Lamski and Gage Castle, along with seniors Zaven Noetzelman and Mason Loch, had one assist.
With this win, Alexandria is now 5-1-1 (6-10-1 overall) against Central Lakes Conference opponents and has won four games in a row, all against conference opponents.
Things got off to a rocky start for the Cardinals as they were 1-9 through their first ten games this season. The Cardinals have turned things around as they are 5-1-1 in their last seven games and have the second-best conference record behind Sartell-St. Stephen (12-3, 7-1 CLC).
"We've just stuck together as friends," Kludt said. "We know it was a tough start, and it's been a tough season, but we're trying to turn things around, and we're hoping that everyone is buying in. That's all we can really ask."
During this four-game winning streak, the Cardinals have shut out two opponents and have outscored those four opponents 24-3.
The Cardinals are the defending Section 6A champions and are currently third out of eight in the section behind Fergus Falls (8-7, 1-1 Section 6A) and Wadena-Deer Creek (11-4, 5-0 Section 6A).
"Having those losses early really helped us come together as a team and play a lot harder," Peterson said.
Alexandria is now 5-1 in games where it scored four or more goals. That lone loss was an 8-5 loss to Orono on Dec. 3, 2022.
The Cardinals have three more home games left on their schedule after Thursday, but they still took the opportunity to honor their seniors at this game.
Thursday's game was senior night for Alexandria. Alexandria has 11 seniors on its varsity team, Kludt, Peterson, Rasmusen, Lamski, Riley Wagner, Matthew Hornstein, Henry Ramstorf, Mason Loch, Jack Breitzman, Noetzelman, and Lucy.
Alexandria's next tilt is on Saturday on the road at Monticello (12-6-1) at 3 p.m.
"We've just got to play three periods and not give up," Peterson said. "We have to always keep our heads up and keep going."